Money over winning
No one will ever be able to accuse Robinson Cano of wanting to win.
Over the last week, baseball owners and general managers have gone wild like liquored up college kids on spring break. An influx of money from new national television deals have put spending stupidly on hyper-drive.
More than other sports, baseball is prone to these nutty binges where players are paid double, or sometimes triple what they are worth.
I spent a good amount of time watching and listening to baseball talking-heads Friday opine about Cano’s 10-year, $240 million contract. Nobody rational was attempting to justify the pact, because it can’t be done.
On Cano’s end, he went to a team that finished 25 games out of first place last season and currently owns the worst lineup in the sport. The Mariners’ starting nine is worse than the Minnesota Twins, no small feat.
For the Mariners, they’ve had a precipitous drop in attendance. They’ve gone from 3.5 million tickets sold in 2003 to less than half that last year. Some claim there is more fervor in the Pacific Northwest for the pro soccer team — the Sounders — than there is for the Mariners. It could be true. Seattle has not been to the postseason since 2001. Only the Kansas City Royals (1985) and Toronto Blue Jays (1993) have longer droughts.
So, there is nothing Cano can say about the present, past or future of the Mariners that would justify leaving the New York Yankees, the most successful sports franchise in the history of the universe (27 World Series titles).
He also can’t say the Yankees disrespected him with a low-ball offer. By all accounts, the Yankees proposed a 7-year, $175 million deal, which is actually higher in average-annual-value than what the Mariners surrendered, but $65 million less total.
When Pujols signed with the Angels in the winter of 2011 it was a money grab, but Anaheim/Los Angeles at least has a recent history of being relevant, and an owner willing to spend on his team. So, while it was fraudulent of Pujols to talk about winning, it wasn’t entirely dishonest.
With as bad as the Mariners are, have been and will be, Cano can’t say that. Nor should he talk about his love of seafood, the Space Needle or being part of a rebuilding project in Seattle.
What he can do is come out and tell the truth — that it’s all about the loot. To say anything else is simply a lie.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org